Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 1, 2013

HEALTH: Rabies clinics help pet owners fulfill state requirements

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — A county-wide rabies campaign sponsored May 6-13 by local veterinary  clinics not only provides animal vaccines at a lower cost, but makes getting them more convenient for pet owners.

“We have a high incidence of rabies in our area, and we're targeting pets that do not come in for rabies or other vaccines,” because owners might not be able to bring them in during regular clinic hours or because of higher costs associated with a visit, explained Chris Hol-comb, manager of Chero-kee Animal Clinic, one of a handful of veterinary clinics sponsoring the week-long event.

“That's why we've been doing (community rabies clinics) for years – it's a convenience for pet owners, who don't have to travel as far,” she said, adding that the Rusk clinic alone has reported averaging between 700-800 rabies shots at the clinics they manned last year.

“These are shots that typically would not be given, so (the annual campaigns) are covering a large group of animals.”

Thirteen communities will host the evening clinics – Cherokee Animal Clinic will offer a full-day event – with not only rabies vaccines for cats and dogs, but other necessary annual vaccines, like distemper, bordatella, parvo and feline leukemia. Cost ranges for $8 for a single rabies vaccine to $40 for the full complement.

“We typically offer locations close to their homes, so they don't have to go far,” Holcomb said.

The price is kept low because there's no charge for exams mandated by state law whenever a pet owner brings their animal to a clinic.

“The state gives an exemption for that exam when we do these rabies clinics in the field, so it's a true help with the cost for the community,” she said.

Another helpful thing clinic staff provides is the option of pet owners keeping their animals inside the vehicle, “while we climb into cars or the back of trucks” to give the vaccine, Holcomb said, making it less stressful for pet and owner, as well as allowing for streamlined service.

Event dates include:

May 6 – the Reece Community Center, 5:30 p.m.; the Reklaw Community Center, 6 p.m.; the old store in Pierce's Chapel, 7 p.m.

 May 7 – New Hope Baptist Church, 5:30 p.m.; New Summerfield School & Gallatin Community Store, 6 p.m.

May 8 – Cherokee Animal Clinic in Rusk, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Mount Selman New Feed Store, 5:30 p.m.; Mixon First Baptist Church, 6 p.m.

May 9 – the Dialville Store & Maydelle First Baptist Church, 6 p.m.

May 10 – Alto's Kessel Veterinary Clinic, 3-6 p.m.

May 13 – Craft Baptist Church, 5:30 p.m.

The state of Texas requires a three-year rabies vaccine, Holcomb said, but “communities have their own laws as to how often (to vaccinate), and due to the high incidence of rabies in our area, we are required to vaccinate yearly.”